Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Fall Out Boy – Young and Menace

The latter, not the former.


Katherine St Asaph: “Are you sure about this chipmunked Imagine Dragons thing?” “Let’s just do it and be legends, man.”

Claire Biddles: I love Fall Out Boy more than some members of my family, and, with the same forgiving loyalty that I would extend to a beloved blood relation, I’m willing to see the goodness in pretty much anything they do. I loved their much-maligned 2015 record American Beauty/American Psycho, choosing to see its over-production as ambitious rather than overblown. I couldn’t even say the subsequent (terribly-titled!) remix album Make America Psycho Again was that bad; just really, really unnecessary. They tried! So, in the spirit of compassion and understanding, what is good about “Young and Menace”? A bunch of stuff: The intro suggests a reassessment of past decadence, both musically and lyrically. Patrick Stump’s vocals are as delicious as they’ve ever been. That “Oops!… I Did It Again” reference (though only my second favourite of recent times) is perfectly executed… but it just all builds up to a big nothing. This is a group who can write a fucking chorus, and when they don’t, they can make a repeated hook feel anthemic like nobody else. The lack of something to grasp on to is what makes “Young and Menace” so disappointing. Isn’t the whole point of this brand of emo to have something to shout about at the top of your lungs? The migraine-inducing nonsense that sits in the black hole where the chorus should be is really hard to forgive. I want to love it, I really really do, but I can’t even physically listen to a large portion of it — not to sound like an Auntie but it’s just noise. Here’s hoping the second single’s a massive banger. 

Iain Mew: My favourite moment in 2017 pop so far is Sơn Tùng visually and audibly bending time and space in the electronic cacophony at the end of “Lạc Trôi,” the most elegant successor to dubstep wubs. I wasn’t expecting a well-known Western group to make a single centred on a harsher version of a similar approach, but Fall Out Boy are a band unafraid of throwing all sorts in. It’s never worked so well for me as this before, though — not only are the drops full-on joy in excess, but they turn the build and release around it into a delightful tease, ultra-seriousness flirting with silliness in the way of all the best songs of their contemporaries.

Joshua Copperman: Switched on Pop has been mentioned on the Singles Jukebox before, but their episode on this song is well worth a listen. They call the… thing that happens about a minute in the logical extreme of the ‘pop-drop,’ and at least on a thematic level, it gives the song a decent amount of context. In Switched on Pop’s view, “Young and Menace” is supposed to be something of a musical shitpost, parodying the chopped vocals and intense breakdowns of other EDM songs by first subverting the huge chorus Fall Out Boy is known for, then by making the drop section go for much longer than it needs to. Hell, even the quiet-loud dynamics are pushed to the extreme self-consciously when Patrick screams the titular line, to the point where I had to fiddle with the volume while listening. Even though it’s sort of brilliant from the shitpost angle, “Young and Menace” nonetheless makes for a puzzling, incredibly uncomfortable listen. They know what they’re going for, and they reach it, regardless of whether or not anyone wants to listen. 

Maxwell Cavaseno: I resent some of y’all for continuing to encourage Patrick Stump because at this point it’s clear he’s one of the most delusional maniacs in pop music. A man who refuses to learn how to properly sing, STILL constantly mistaking shrieking for passion, as initially proven by that gargantuanly vacuous Soul Punk dalliance. What was once arguably a decent pop rock band is now like the karmic opposite of Thom Yorke holding his band hostage on Kid A. Here we do not have a challenge to support someone’s neurotic phobias but instead the continued enabling of a brat’s tantrums. The lyrics of this band have become appalling, the use of FUCKING DUBSTEP BREAKS in 2017 would be laughed out the door by anyone else, and yet again their po-faced po-mo gestures of pop-worship read more and more of a band who are aware of how utterly unable they are of getting anyone excited. Fall Out Boy aren’t there, they’re just using the name because nobody gives a shit about Patrick and so many people in music are too afraid to commit themselves to something new. It’s an exercise in cowardice and mental hermitage.

Edward Okulicz: The drop smeared all over this, blanking out all art, all melody, all cleverness, all that is good about Fall Out Boy is an artistic choice, much like a painter vomiting all over a canvass and selling it anyway. I’m not giving partial credit for past masterpieces; this is plain awful.

Thomas Inskeep: Rock band takes hard left turn and embraces vocoders, electronic textures and dubstep drops: Maroon 5? Linkin Park? No, this time it’s FOB, but really, it doesn’t matter who it is, because it’s all the same shit. 

Katie Gill: Fall Out Boy’s sound is all over the goddamn place. Their loud, obnoxious pop-rock stylings have settled into something that’s a bit closer to an Imagine Dragons alternative. Their lyrics are also over the goddamn place. The cocky pretension that infiltrates all of their lyrics comes off as downright annoying here: nothing can save the pretentious smugness of “I think God is gonna have to kill me twice.” Finally, that drop is all over the goddamn place. I don’t know who decided that the thing this song needed was a drop that uses every single vocal manipulation section in Garageband, but can we please fire them?

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One Response to “Fall Out Boy – Young and Menace”

  1. tried blurbing this but I didn’t have anything in my notes besides “why is patrick stump auditioning to be a Disclosure vocalist in the verses”